2 lucky German POWs

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by Hoover, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    Hi all,

    my 2 grandfathers fought in the WW2, like most of the German males. Their stories are a part of my family history and I would like to share their story.

    My fathers father was a Reichsbahn (railroad) official and joined the Reiter-SS in 1934, mainly for getting advantages in his career. In 1942 he had the rank of Untersturmführer in the Reiter-SS. Then he had to join the military service. He volunteered the the SS-Panzergrenadierregiment 5 of the 3. SS-Panzerdivision. He was quite old then, born in 1906. In 1945 he was Unterscharführer with an age of 39! He was wounded during the Lake Balaton offensive in March 1945 and was evacuated to a hospital in Klagenfurt (Austria). There he was promoted to Oberscharführer in the morning of May, 8th 1945, still lying in his hospital bed. In the afternoon the Hospital was occupied by British troops. Here his luck started apart from his severe wound. All members of the 3. SS Divsion which were captured by or surrended to the British were handed over to the Russians (most of them died in Russian captivity). But the British surgeon calssified the woud of my grandfahter as to heavy, so he was not handed over. And when he was recoverd in fall 1945 no prisoners were given to the Russians. So the British discharged him after verify this combat records. He hasn´t been charged for war crimes so he left Austria as a dicharged former soldier. The family was from Silesia and fled to Northern Germany, where he followed. The British occupation officials didn´t show any interest in him, and because he has been a Reichsbahn specialist the British installed him as a railway station administrator.

    He died in the mid 60´s on cancer.

    My other grandfather had a life a movie of it would be rated as incredible. For short: He was a forward observer in 22. Luftlandedivisin, was wounded at Sewastopol, went to Sicily, was a radioman in the HQ CO of PzGrenRegt 129, wounded second time by a Italien Partisan girls in September 1943, was demoted to Gefreiter for knocking down a superior, went to Loraine and the Ardennes, third wound end of December and got into a hospital in Wuppertal. Now his POW life:

    When US troops arrived in Wuppertal all patients of the hospital were dicharged by the hospital staff. The discharge were conformed in the Soldbuch. The former soldiers with my grandfather walked around and decided to sat down and wait for the US. But the first US Troops didn´t care for the discharge and they were taken to a POW camp in Belgium. In Summer 1945 my grandfather was handed over to the French, where he worked in a fabric for canned fruits. Thery were starving, but who ever dared to eat from the fruits the POW were beaten to death by the Marrocan guards. Anyway the German POW were geaten al the time, with or without a reason.
    In winter 1945 my grandfather and a comrade decided to escape. They managed to flee and walked back to the German border. They got as hitchhikers to Halle in Westphalia, where his comrade came from. He stayed the winter in Halle and travelled back to his hometown Verden. He arrived there in spring 1946, but he didn´t get any food stamps because he of course was an illegal. So he walked to the British Barracks at the Verden Stadium (in use by the BAOR until 1993), but the British were not authorized to discharge POWs. He borrowed a bike and rode to the next discharge camp, which was 70km away in Hesedorf between Bremen and Hamburg. He started ealry in the morning, arrived the camp in the afternoon on April 23, 1946.

    My grandfather told me, that the British were really not interested in his escape from French captivity. He was classified as working able, and he came from a farm. So was discharged (I stil have his certificate of discharge, signed by a Captain T. DEW, discharge collection center Hesedrof). After 1 hour paper warfare he travelled nack to Verden, now officially desicharged. Back in Verden (andthat is really crazy) he was involed in the capture of SS General Oswald Pohl on May 27 1946 in Verden. Pohl was hiding in a farm next to the farm of my grandfather and my grandfather was interrogated by the SAS Commando who captured Pohl.

    canuck, Lindele, andy007 and 8 others like this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Hi Frank
    Thanks for sharing some of your grandfathers' stories. Hope you'll post more.

    My Opa also had similar luck compared to his comrades. He was serving with 4. Gebirgs-Division (having survived Kuban-Brückenkopf) when he was badly wounded and so evacuated before his unit's eventual surrender to Soviet forces in Olmütz. He was hospitalised and then as POW discharged by US Army.
    Did any of your family serve during WW2; if so what did they do?

    (Wuppertal is not far from where I was born. Late forum member Gerry Chester told me he also spent some time there in 1946 with North Irish Horse.)

    My father was part of the Guards Armoured Division which made its way up to Bremen & Hamburg in 1945.
    War Diary: 3rd Battalion IRISH GUARDS, Jan - Dec 1945
    Buteman and CL1 like this.
  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Frank thank you
    It is very interesting
    We would like to hear much more

  4. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    The capture of Pohl. Hmmm. Something in the dark recesses of my scrambled grey matter are saying "stolen bicycle argument" (a bit of subterfuge used to draw Pohl out into the open) If I'm not completely getting this mixed up with another SS member being lifted I wonder if the team used your grandfather's bicycle as the "bait".

    Correct me if I've mixed this up with another arrest chaps, away from home at present so can't check.

    Kind regards,

  5. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Sorry Jim but I don’t get what you are alluding to and/or driving/hinting at.

    I think you’ll have to expand your post - especially as Frank does not have English as his first language.

  6. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    Oh no, he was only interrogated because Pohl moved quite freely in the town and they were asked if they maybe supported Pohl. But my grandfather told them that he even didn´t know who Pohl was, and I believe that 100%. Which common German knew anything about Pohl, his face or what he did during the war?

    I have some nice accounts how they captured Pohl here in Verden (the spot is only 250 meters away from my desk I am sitting now).

    Tullybrone likes this.
  7. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Hello Steve and Frank, I have it in my head that one of the arrests made by SAS War Crimes Investigation Team immediate post war involved a bit of a ruse where the target of the arrest was brought out into the open by being accused of the theft of a bicycle. During the ensuing argument the chap was arrested (grabbed) and taken into British custody.

    Can't remember names/places as of yet and thought it may have been Pohl.

    Thanks to Frank for making it clear that it wasn't.

    Name in question will likely come to me at some ungodly hour.


    Tullybrone likes this.
  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks for the clarification from you both.

  9. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    The capture of Pohl is quite thrilling. If there is any interest I can write the story. Kemp wrote a short report in "The secret hunters", but I have much more informations collected.

    TriciaF, andy007 and stolpi like this.
  10. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Go to it please Frank. I for one will be interested in any details that have emerged since.

  11. Hoover

    Hoover Junior Member

    Okay, this evening I have some time.

  12. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    As well as interest, I admire your ability to write in our difficult english language.
  13. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    What a story, was fuer eine Geschichte. my dad was also a very lucky POW with the Brits instead of the Russians.
    I was raised in Hannover, not too far from Verden/Aller


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